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October 8, 2014

A photographers worst online shopping nightmare

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Written by: Lawrence
So what is a photographers worst online shopping nightmare you might ask?

Well, it is when thousands of dollars are spent on a DSLR and the camera ends up with types of issues that require an exchange.

So what makes this online shopping experience a nightmare? The PROCESS for the return is a hassle/nightmare.

Let me start from the beginning.

After weeks and weeks of research, I finally decided to take the plunge and purchase the Nikon D810. This research also led me to select B&H as the retailer of choice.  Keep in mind that my previous DSLR purchases were all from brick and mortar stores. One camera store being Samy’s Camera and the other Calumet which closed down its physical store in Los Angeles.

Since I planned to purchase the Nikon D810 from B&H, I had to put in my order before the 10/8 Succos and as I wanted to reach it ASAP and minimize any damage during transport, I paid $48.95 for one day shipping. Again this would have been great if the product I received didn’t have defects which I will details shortly.

My order was placed on Sunday 10/5 and I received the Nikon D810 on Tuesday 10/7 as UPS wasn’t open on Sunday so it was processed/shipped on Monday.  Again this would have been perfect, If i received a Nikon D810 that I can be happy.

I spent early this 10/7 evening setting up my custom settings without taking a shot as I don’t want to take any pictures until all my settings are to my liking.

Once I finished with the settings, I looked into the viewfinder to take my first shot and what do I see? A fairly big piece of lint in the bottom right of the viewfinder. I first thought it was external so I took my Giotto rocket blower and pointed it at the viewfinder with no success. The lint was still there.  I was curious to know if it was on the sensor so I attempted to perform a sensor dust test and after I pressed on the shutter, the big piece of lint disappeared.  I was pleased that the big piece of lint was no more and only a small piece remain at the center of the viewfinder. Now , I am concerned that the big piece of lint might surface in the sensor when the mirror opens.  Therefore, I looked into the chamber and come to notice another issue. I noticed a clump of hardened glue like material hanging in between the focusing screen as you can see below  to the left of the yellow piece.  This glue like material looked strange and wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be present. Therefore, I proceeded on inspecting my other Nikon DSLRs and no glue was to be found in my other camera’s. This leads me to believe that lucky me received a product that didn’t go through a high level of quality assurance.



So the next step was to request for an exchange in hopes that the new replacement would not possess the same issues. Which leads me to another nightmare of circumstance. As B&H will be closed from 10/8 to 10/18, it is not likely I would be able to receive an exchange within the next 10 days and that is if all works smoothly. There is a possibility that a return could take longer than desired. Which makes purchasing one day shipping in my situation a complete waste of money.

So in hindsight would I have still considered an online retailer for my purchase? My issues would have been immediately addressed and corrected if i purchased my Nikon D810 at a local camera store.  Since it is my first not so desirable online DSLR buying experience, I’ll give the online retailers another chance and take this first time as just bad luck.

I’ll keep you posted on the outcome with B&H.

October 8 update – Knowing that B&H closes at 1PM today for the holiday, I woke up extra early to get in touch with someone from customer service about my issues. So I first reached out via LIVE chat but a supervisor isn’t available via LIVE chat. So I was instructed to contact customer service via phone. Moments later I picked up the phone and dialed customer service and talked to a customer service rep and kindly located a supervisor. I’d hoped that a replacement would be able to be sent by this Saturday which was my initial purpose of ordering the camera via expedited shipping before the holiday but unfortunately I was told that the shipping department is already closed. Basically, there is nothing left to do but wait until B&H reopens to return the unit.

What helped my current disappointment, was the accommodating and friendly nature of the supervisor which listened to my issues and reassured me that I would be taken care of and that an exchange for a NEW Nikon D810 would be processed upon opening and that all would be needed is my defective Nikon D810 that I can send anytime close to their re-opening date.

When the supervisor saw the images I took of the glue like material, he was apologetic of an apparent quality control issue on Nikon’s part that they have no control over.

So far with the exception of just bad timing, the experience has been pleasant.  Let’s just say that I will never buy a DSLR again ONLINE during any holiday. Look for my next update going over the actual exchange experience. I just hope I don’t receive another D810 with similar issues or I might have to really consider another camera manufacturer.

Latest update – Let’s just say B&H customer service is amazing. Nightmare no more. I received a replacement and appears to be free from defects that I discovered on the first D810. Now I am ready to put this camera to work. Stay tuned for upcoming Nikon D810 articles.




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About the Author

Lawrence Atienza is a Jack of all Trades and Master of ALL. Whether it be in the realm of Advertising/Advertising operations with over 10+ years of experience to dabbling in the creative realm of photography and founding/writing for, Lawrence Atienza gives his all. You can find him on Google+,Twitter and the major social media outlets.